Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Butler Transit Authority Anticipates Service to Pittsburgh This Year

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Butler Transit Authority Anticipates Service to Pittsburgh This Year

Article excerpt

This year is shaping up to one of the biggest in the Butler Area Transit Authority history.

By year's end, the transit authority - which currently operates a bus service primarily within the central part of Butler County - expects to begin a Butler-to-Pittsburgh mass transit service that will use a new fleet powered by natural gas.

It's based at a new fueling system on the authority's Butler Township facility servicing commuters who can park their personal vehicles at an expanded park-n-ride lot that's under construction in Jackson.

"This is going to be a big year for us," said John Paul, executive director.

The project has been envisioned for years but shifted into high gear with the passage of a state capital bond bill and a transportation bill late last year.

"That's what we needed to have happen," he said. Financing is in place for the multimillion dollar project. The final step is release of the funding by the state department of transportation, which Mr. Paul expects to happen in increments. The project will be the subject of a meeting with PennDOT officials later this month.

Each of the prongs of the project are advancing. Mr. Paul said the compressed natural gas facility that will be needed to fuel the new natural-gas-powered buses is to be operational by the end of the year. This project, which entails upgrades to the transit authority property and construction of a garage to house the new vehicles, will cost a little less than $9 m illion.

The six 45-foot coach buses that will be purchased - four will increase the size of the fleet and two will replace existing vehicles - have only to be ordered from an identified vendor. Each bus will cost about $750,000.

The park-n-ride lot in Jackson at the intersection of Route 528 and Route 19 is under construction now and is being expanded from a 100-car capacity to more than 300-car capacity. That project also entails construction of a left-turn lane coming from the east onto southbound Interstate 79. The total project cost of this piece is $1.875 million, $1.475 for the parking lot. The existing park-n- ride lot is owned by PennDOT, but the transit authority purchased an adjacent 5 acres for about $360,000 in January 2012. …

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